As the first speaker kicked off GPI’s second annual Energy Innovation Celebration on Sept. 29, the energy in the room was palpable. The Better Energy Community brimmed with enthusiasm and a cooperative spirit as we began an evening to celebrate human and technological innovation for building a better energy future. It took almost a full minute for the room to quiet as the group of over 300 guests wound down conversations carried in from the evening’s reception at the Nicollet Island Pavilion on the Mississippi River.

At the reception, people connected with old and new friends while milling about on the patio where an array of exhibits gave people a window into how GPI and our partners are making an impact.

Whether it was the group of people crowded around Matt Prorok illustrating the importance of transmission infrastructure planning on a giant touchscreen, or chatting with Brendan Jordan about the newest electric vehicle developments, or catching Diana McKeown’s enthusiasm for the progress Minnesota cities have made towards meeting sustainability goals, everyone had a chance to experience a facet of GPI’s work.

The evening’s keynote speaker, Nancy Pfund, Founder and Managing Partner of DBL Partners, shared her insights as a leading impact investor on how to move forward critical energy innovations while creating positive change in the world. Or, as GPI’s President and CEO, Rolf Nordstrom, said in her introduction, “How do we get ‘good’ to scale?”

Ms. Pfund’s prescription for creating an environment where such change is possible was dubbed ‘The Trifecta,’ which includes policy, capital, and technology, and she encouraged everyone in the room to do their part to make progress on each.

She stressed these components as the foundation for building the iconic, sustainable companies of the 21st century that will play an integral role in achieving a better energy future.

After the keynote, Ms. Pfund was joined on stage by Bob Inglis, Executive Director of, and former member of Congress (R-SC) to have a conversation, moderated by Mr. Nordstrom, about how we can accelerate the transformation of our energy system together – from policy to innovation. Mr. Inglis, who stresses the power of free enterprise to find climate and energy solutions, paired with Ms. Pfund, led to a fascinating discussion where they tackled such fundamental questions as, “How can we harness market forces with the right public policy signals to achieve the scale and pace of change we need? What kinds of conversations do we need to have in order to build a bi-partisan coalition that can move policy forward? What can investors and the business community do (or do more of) to use their market pull to effect change?

The two compelling leaders highlighted the conceptual themes of the evening as they discussed the critical conversations and relationships needed, paired with market forces, to create new opportunities that will result in the change we desperately need for a more sustainable world.

The Energy Innovation Celebration would not be possible without the support of our sponsors and table hosts. Thank you for your support!

At GPI, we’ve been bringing people together across the country to build the relationships to that can result in real, transformational change. In the next year, GPI will turn 20, our eyes remain firmly fixed on the future and what we can all do together.  This is why we asked our guests at the 2016 Energy Innovation Celebration to share their wishes for a Better Energy future.  For us and our community many of those wishes must come true if we are to build a sustainable world.

The whole Energy Innovation Celebration, from the animated conversations with friends and colleagues at the reception, to the inspiring, motivating discussions on stage during the program, gave us a renewed sense of connection with our community and reminded us why we have a deep commitment to our work that will help us continue the trajectory of impactful change we began almost 20 years ago.

We are grateful to the many organizations and people who make up the Better Energy Community, whose incredible support led to the success of the GPI Celebration and who make our work possible, every day. Please enjoy the slideshow of images below from the 2nd Annual GPi Energy Innovation Celebration!

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